No. 126 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island -
ODE TO BAGHDAD
What can one say at a time of such awful sadness?
I hang my head in shame at the things that are being done on our
behalf, in our name.
We are told by the American Ambassador to Canada
that we should be ashamed for not supporting them, since we are
all "family". I am ashamed – but not for the
reason he thinks. I shudder at the Mafiosi overtones of his word
That the people of Baghdad should be bombed,
killed and terrorized in such a way, for the US to win control
over Iraq’s oil, is so wretched.
Yes, I know, the Bushes, Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzes
say it is about stopping terrorism, removing weapons of mass destruction,
installing democracy, regime change, anything – except
securing the supply of oil.
This land, Iraq, sits in the cradle of civilization.
It was here, in Mesopotamia, thanks to the richness of the soil
from the flooding of two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates,
that agriculture began.
It was here, long before the civilizations of
Egypt, Greece or Rome, that towns and cities began, that calendars
were first used, that writing was invented. It was here that maths
was invented, based on the numeral 60 – which is why we have 60
minutes in the hour, and 360 degrees in the circle. As commerce
flourished, it was here that double-entry book-keeping was developed.
It was here that laws were first codified, under
King Hammurabi of Babylon (1792 – 1750 BC), guaranteeing social
justice and legal protection to the lower classes. It was here,
under the Assyrian culture, that the calculations of latitude
and longitude were developed, predecessors of the Global Positioning
System which is being used to rain down missiles on Baghdad. It
was here that early medical science and horticulture developed.
Later, thanks to the mathematician Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa
al-Khawarizmi (680 - 750AD), it was here that algebra was invented
– the very word comes from the title of his book, "Kitab
al-jabr". His name, al-Khawarizmi, became the word "algorithm",
the foundation of all computer systems, which are being used to
control those missiles.
What relevance is this? Austria was the
land of Mozart, but this didn’t stop it from producing Hitler.
Saddam Hussein is a thoroughly nasty, brutal,
Stalinesque dictator, a psychopath who has no qualms about killing
a million of his people. His regime was armed by US and British
companies, and tacitly encouraged to develop chemical and biological
weapons in its war with Iran.
The Americans know he had these weapons, because
they sold them to him. Scott Ritter, however, who served as a
UN arms inspector in Iraq for 8 years, says they have all been
destroyed or buried, and that any biological or chemical weapons
he may still have will have degraded, and lost their ability to
And as for the supposed terrorist connections
to Al Qaeda – none has been found. What is more worrying is that
all over the Arab world, fundamentalist nutcases are turning Saddam
Hussein into a hero of Islam, packing their bags to go fight in
Iraq – and in the USA, and wherever they can find a way to make
suicide their path to paradise, and all those celestial virgins.
For our beautiful planet Earth, cradle of all
our civilizations, this is a terrifying play where Christian fundamentalism,
with its obsession with good, evil, and the end-times meets Islamic
fundamentalism. They say it’s not a crusade, but the not-so-hidden
agenda of White House bosses Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney involves
radical reform of the UN, regime change in Iran and Syria, and
"containment" of France and Germany. It is paramount, in their
eyes, that America should dominate the world, for God, Jesus,
and McDonalds. This is The New American Century. See www.newamericancentury.org
if you doubt my words.
It is in response to this attempted "coup
du monde" that the world peace movement has arisen and found
its strength. Now is the time to make our voices and our actions
louder, to oppose this war, and all wars, forever. If you are
wondering how you can help, see "101 Ways to Stop the War
on Iraq", at www.earthfuture.com
There are now two superpowers – the US, and the
peace movement. Now is the time to craft the hopes, the treaties,
and the policies that will firmly entrench the United Nations
at the heart of a shared, multilateral world. Now is the time
to turn our foreign policies and diplomacies to plans for pre-emptive
peace, pre-emptive sustainability, pre-emptive love. Not just
in Iraq, but in the whole of the Middle East, and wherever there
is conflict and ancient hostility.
Out of this grief and awfulness must come true
democracy - global democracy. This is our hope, and our firm intention.
This is our commitment to the people of Baghdad. This is our word.
monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver
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* Food not Bombs: looking for someone to house a deep-freeze for
near downtown. Help? email@example.com
* Can you donate old books and other auctionables for the Oak &
Orca School fundraiser May 3rd? 383-6609
* Leadership & Natural Building course, Shawnigan www.cobworks.com
* Room to rent (furnished, unfurn) in a lovely and central "cottage"
for the month of May. Share with one other. $350 including utilities.
* Wanted: Volunteer accounting, also resources/materials for construction
of a cob/strawbale hybrid building. OUR EcoVillage firstname.lastname@example.org
* Taxes by financial professional, Roxanne Brydges, CFP, $40 simple
return, $50-$75 self-employed or rental. 360-6284 or email@example.com
* Harris Green Peace Camp needs storage containers, candles, lanterns,
plates, cups, first aid gear, fruit. Marie firstname.lastname@example.org
* Congratulations to the Victoria Car Share Co-op, six cars, 70
members. Wanna join? Call Suzanne, 721-4452.
More than just an Organic Produce Box
Join us, nurturing local food production
* Supporting local organic farmers
* Farmers in Transition to organics
* Fair Trade Products
DESPAIR AND HOPE
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of
truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers
and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always
fail. Think of it always."
- Mahatma Gandhi
THE VANISHING FOREST
The BC government calls it the "Working Forest" legislation.
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee calls it the most anti-environmental
legislation ever proposed in BC. Like the Bush administration, the
Campbell administration understands its mandate as being to govern
"for the corporations, by the corporations". For the election
of May 2001, the BC Liberals received hefty donations from logging
$147,550: Independent Contractors and Businesses Ass’n of BC
$105,350: Internat’l Forest Products
$65,150: Timberwest Forest Corp’n
$54,400: Weyerhauser Canada Ltd.
Now it’s payback time - but the prize is astonishing: 45 million
hectares of crown land - half of BC’s landmass, an area the size
of Sweden. Over all this land, currently owned by the people of
BC, the logging and mining industries will have permanent guaranteed
access. If the legislation passes, whenever there is a need to create
new provincial parks, protect drinking watersheds, endangered species,
wildlife and fish habitats, or scenic corridors for tourism, or
provide lands for First Nations land settlements, an equivalent
area will be taken from existing parks, or financial compensation
paid to the corporations. The law puts industrial logging and mining
above all other interests, tearing up years of patient land-use
partnerships. The legislation does nothing to address the real problems
in BC’s vast and incredible forests, which relate to the land-tenure
stranglehold of a few corporations, chronic overcutting, the destruction
of forest ecosystems, and the lack of value-added industry.
YES, you can do something about this. The government is seeking
public comments until April 30th. There’s a Ministry
form you can fill in at http://srmwww.gov.bc.ca/rmd/workingforest/comments.htm
, and please write to the Premier, Rm 156, Parl Bldg, Victoria V8V
1X4. email@example.com See
Feeling stifled by the cotton-wool controlled media coverage of
CNN, Global and Fox? Take heart – there are alternatives with a
different perspective. The Internet is like the invention of the
printing press that created an explosion of freedom in the heart
of the medieval church controlled world, when the Catholic Church
would rather burn people alive than allow them to translate the
Bible into their mother tongues. So celebrate – the Internet offers
us a renaissance of progressive values in a corporate controlled
world. Go read freely, for yourself!
A BROAD COALITION
For those who despair that the Liberals will receive a second term
in office if the Green Party and the NDP split the vote again at
the next provincial election – have hope! A new movement is slowly
being birthed. Known as "A Broad Coalition", is gradually
weaving together people from both parties to build friendships,
establish areas of agreement, and discuss possible strategies for
the future, and the May 2005 election. It started with a group of
persistent, hopeful, committed women from both parties. It is growing
into – well, we don’t know quite what, yet. If you would like to
organize a coffee party or a local get-together for Greens, NDPers
and others who feel disenchanted with the Liberals, call Susan Clark
435 bird species, 105 land mammals, 14 reptiles, 18 amphibians,
50 freshwater fish, 14 anadromous fish, 2,300 vascular plants, 700
mosses, 250 liverworts and hornworts, 1,600 lichens, 10,000 fungi.
Many incredible humans, determined to protect them. Much hope. Much
concern. Much commitment.
We are all living unsustainably. In an innocent, childlike manner,
we graze on nature, trusting it’ll all work out in the end. And
so we go about our business, building our houses, sailing our oceans,
filling up our shopping trolleys, tossing away our garbage, enjoying
the fresh air. Until it hits us – BDOING! – that in reality, it’s
all falling apart. Then suddenly, if our souls are alive, we jump
to it, and start searching for ways to change. The Regional District
of Nanaimo is putting a cautious toe into the waters of sustainability
by setting up a "State of Sustainability Project". There’s
a new citizen’s committee which aims to assess progress towards
sustainability, make residents more aware, and dream up new ways
to improve the region’s sustainability, starting with a list of
30 indicators. They have left out progress on reducing greenhouse
gases, reducing toxins, and local farms becoming organic, but let’s
hope this was just a forgetful oversight. We wish them well! For
information, call 250-390-6510.
EVEN PLASTIC MUST DIE
Poor old plastic. First Ireland puts a 25 cent tax on plastic shopping
bags, causing so many people to buy cloth bags that sales plummet
by 92% in 6 months. Then Taiwan bans all free distribution of plastic
bags and tableware, in an attempt to reduce the use of plastic by
30%. Taiwan’s 23 million people use 20 billion bags a year - that’s
2.5 bags per person, per day. Those that don’t litter the landscape
are incinerated, sending fluffy little clouds of carcinogenic dioxins
into the air. And now, in a further humiliation, the British supermarket
chain Sainsbury’s is making plastic bags from tapioca, which will
biodegrade in 28 days instead of 100 years (if you don’t stir them
into your stew.) It’s enough to make an honest plastic bag weep.
A GENEVA CONVENTION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
We have a Geneva Convention that governs the rules of war and the
treatment of prisoners, but which says nothing about the way warring
armies treat the environment. Depleted uranium, oil-fires, landmines
– it’s all in a good day’s fighting. To a space-being from another
planet, this would be a sure sign that this is one planet that hasn’t
got its act together. Klaus Topfer, head of the UN Environment Program,
is saying it’s about time we had an equivalent of the Geneva Convention
for the Environment. Environmental security is crucial as we work
to build peace, and "using the environment as a weapon must
be universally condemned and denounced as an international crime
against humankind, against nature." Right on, Klaus. Now how
about a convention that declared ALL war an international crime
against humankind, and nature?
THE GARDEN PATH ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY
The Healthiest Plants at Grower Direct Prices
Open Daily 10 - 5:30pm
April, May & June
395 Conway Road
(off Interurban, 1 block past Camosun College)
ECOSCHOOL IS FILLING UP
The Oak and Orca Bioregional School is continuing to blossom. The
school was started 4 years ago by a group of concerned folks who
wanted to see kids educated in a holistic and ecologically mindful
manner. They will reach their capacity next fall with 35 families
involved. Looking to the future, they hope to help children develop
connections to the natural world, and a deep love and respect for
the Earth and all its inhabitants. 250-383-6609
Oak and Orca Bioregional School
Developing ecologically responsible citizens through
Join us for our first annual
MAY 3rd 12-5pm
2738 Higgins St, Cook & Hillside
White fawn lilies, pink fawn lilies, chocolate lilies, camas. Satin-flowers,
coralroot, Easter lilies, Indian plum. Snowberries, licorice ferns,
shooting stars, ocean spray. Sky-blue mornings, frog-singing nights.
Heaven erupting in every long-awaited breath of spring. At last!
At last! The symphony explodes, all nature sings. The Victoria Natural
History Society is running several excursions into wildflower wonderland
(see Green Diary), and so is CRD Parks – see www.crd.bc.ca/parks/programs
URBAN GARDENS DELIGHT!
Ever wanted to create a sea of happy vegetables amid the concrete
of the city, and grow healthy food for local people? Then take heart
– Emily McNair, up at UVic’s POLIS Project, has written two magnificent
info-packed booklets. The Garden City Handbook tells you how to
create and protect community gardens in Victoria, while Seeds of
Success shows how it is being done elsewhere, with all the details
you’ll need to make a long-term success of it – such as building
partnerships with everyone in sight who can tell a carrot from a
lettuce. For a copy, call 721-6388; and they’re on-line at www.polisproject.org
Activists - never be sick again. Stay healthy and
working for Mother Earth
with Fasting, Raw Foods, Sunshine and Love
April 21st – 30th (5 day min)
Led by RAY KENT
Qualicum Bay Resort, Vanc. Island
$55 per day + Room/camping ($10-50 per day) 50%
deposit by April 7th
Susan Holvenstot, 250-334-2375 firstname.lastname@example.org
ACTION OF THE MONTH
HELP THE WOLVES
Nitya Harris writes: The provincial government is proposing a
major wolf kill in the Muskwa-Kechika management area in North Eastern
BC, so that more ungulates (Rocky Mountain elk, Stone's mountain
sheep, woodland cariboo and moose) are available for big-game hunters.
This is part of the Muskwa-Kechika wildlife management plan and
was obtained by the Vancouver Sun through freedom-of-information
legislation. The report does not recommend suspending hunting to
rebuild ungulate populations, but plans instead to kill over 200
of the region’s wolves, currently estimated at 850. "This is retrogressive
wildlife management," said Paul Paquet, a Saskatchewan-based ecologist
and large-carnivore specialist who has studied wolves in BC and
North America. The government is looking for public input on the
Action: Please write asap to Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Water,
Land and Air Prot’n, PO Box 904, Stn Prov Gov, Victoria V8W 9E2.
Fax: 250 387-1356 email@example.com
Send a copy to Pierre Johnstone, Environmental Stewardship Division,
400-10003 110th Ave, Fort St John, BC V1J 6M7. Fax (250) 787-3490
this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though
it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost.
You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:
Conway Road, Victoria V9E 2B9, Canada. Thanks !
here for previous issues of EcoNews.
395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E
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